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Qantas reaches 50-year milestone on trans-Tasman jet flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 10, 2015
A Boeing 707 used to operate Qantas's first trans-Tasman jet service after landing at Christchurch Airport. (Qantas)
A Boeing 707 used to operate Qantas’s first trans-Tasman jet service after landing at Christchurch Airport. (Qantas)

Qantas is celebrating a half century of jet flights to New Zealand, which started on April 10 1965 when a Boeing 707 touched down at Christchurch Airport in front of about 10,000 onlookers.

The Boeing 707, which had 20 first and 84 economy class seats, replaced the turboprop Lockheed Electra aircraft on the route.

Qantas’s initial twice weekly jet service has grown to more than 200 trans Tasman flights a week.

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And today the trans-Tasman market is an extremely competitive one, with Australian and New Zealand carriers Qantas, Jetstar, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia battling foreign airlines such as Emirates, China Airlines and LAN Chile on the route.

The year 1965 was also the year Air New Zealand operated its first jet services, with DC-8s flying from New Zealand to Los Angeles.

While no doubt a momentous day in the history of Qantas, the airline was not the first to fly jet aircraft between Australia and New Zealand.

British Overseas Airline Corporation (BOAC) operated De Havilland Comets on its around the-world-flight from London to Auckland via the likes of Frankfurt, Beirut, Kolkata, Singapore, Darwin, Perth and Sydney, among others, from 1963.

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Christchurch Mayor G Manning (left) and Qantas Co-Founder Hudson Fysh (right) after the inaugural jet service. (Qantas)
Christchurch Mayor G Manning (left) and Qantas Co-Founder Hudson Fysh (right) after the inaugural jet service. (Qantas)

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